Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Week 68

Happy Moments 
Week 68--Nov. 7, 2016

This week was a good one!  Our English class is going good!  We are trying to get more people there.  We need to do a handout or something, to remind and tell people about the class, but hey, there have been a few people there.  I gave the closing prayer in English and tried to bear my testimony at the class, it didn’t go to well.  Let´s just say, I’m glad I’ve got a week before my homecoming talk when I get home or I think I’d get up there and give my entire talk in Portuguese!! Hahaha! 

Okay, so we hit the rainy season here in Brazil and it´s been super rainy this week.  I love it because it’s not so crazy HOT!!  The heat where’s you out and when it rains its a lot cooler outside.  Sister A. Smith and I have gotten the hang of the wearing pants and we´re liken it!  PANTS RUUUULE!!  We just wear skirts on Sundays and if there is a big reunion with our mission.

Want to know the greatest thing about a mission?  When you get to see your converts progress in the gospel!  They are the greatest, happiest moments of all!!!  When you see your converts excited about learning more, when they are reading the Book of Mormon, and sitting next to you partaking of the sacrament on Sundays.  It’s priceless!

We all go to church for the same purpose, to renew our covenants that we made at baptism, to be washed clean of our sins and try to become better.  We go to church to feel the spirit and to learn or feel something that strengthens our testimony.   We also go to church to strengthen our testimony and to help strengthen others testimony as well.  There is just nothing better, I want to stay in Brazil forever just to watch these people progress in the gospel!  My friend that is serving in Rio Verde said that one of my converts is turning in his papers to serve a mission!!!  I got so excited I was jumping up and down!!!  The first time I met him he was drunk and now he´s cleaned up his life, let God change him and is preparing to serve a mission!!  It´s the greatest news in the world to hear that!!  Stephaney said she wants to serve a mission too!!(:  I remember what Elder Nelson said, what we want to see in our missionary work is your recent converts, serving missions, entering the temple and then seeing their posterity doing the same!  We want it to affect generations!  It´s starting and I’m seeing a little of it!!

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!!!!!(:

Com MUITO Amor,
- Sister Smith

Jessica with her recent converts in Novo Mundo. One member said, "Oh Sister Smith, how many men have you baptized with those big blue eyes?"  I said, "only women here in Novo Mundo." (It's the spirit who converts people!)  I LOVE my converts!!!!

The market next to our house.  

We had hoof for dinner this week.
Brazilian Pizza is Better than American Pizza!

The rainy season has definitely started!

I kind of love açai people....

 Joana's daughters came to support their mom at her baptism.

 The elders call us "The Pant Crew."

 More Yummy Brazilian food!
 BBQ after the clean-up!
 Us with this cute member in her car, she is going to marry an american and wants me to be her bridesmade..she's moving to the U.S.A.!

 Yay!  Mom sent me an English Hymn Book!

Me doing the same pose I did in Hawaii, 
7 years ago! hahaha
(Actual picture from 7 years ago.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Week 67

Week 67—October 31, 2016

What a week people! Lets see...
-       Sister A. Smith and I have been running in the mornings...I forgot to tell you all!!  I will finish my mission running...literally. hehe  I always said, when I have 3 months left on my mission, I will start running/exercising to be a little more in shape. We run when we can! (;

- We started teaching ENGLISH!!!  We teach every Friday at 7, you are all invited if you want to come by the way! (:  I taught English in Caldas Novas and loved it, so I’m excited to do it here with the ward in Novo Mundo.  Everyone is super duper excited!  I think it will be a hit and we hope to get some investigators while we do it!

-       Mom, I got your package and I was sooooo EXCITED!!!  THANK YOU MOM!  I LOVED THE LETTER!!!  

- New rule!!!  WE WEAR PANTS NOW!  Starting tomorrow!  It´s the weirdest thing!  I don’t feel like a missionary, I feel like a normal person.  I don’t like it, but I don’t want to get the Zika virus or Dengue fever from the mosquitos.  The rainy season is starting here and the mosquitos are hungry for our pants will be a good idea!  Safety first!!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!  President Bührer wanted all of us to choose a house to clean on P-day so we all chose to clean our zone leaders house, and then we had a BBQ!  It was so fun!!  Every P-day has been really busy, but it’s been full of memories, so what could be better? (:

Okay, so I don’t know if you all remember Joana.  She is the lady who had the dream about the fruit of the tree of life before she even knew about chapter 8 in the Book of Mormon!  Yeah her!  Well, let me tell you her whole story.  Joana´s brother is a member and left a Liahona on her table one day after visiting.  She didn’t read it and just went to work.  She had never been interested in knowing anything about the church.  So one day she went to work (she´s a nurse) and she saw the elders there (one of the elders had health problems) Anyway, she had a feeling to talk to them and ask them about their church.  One of the elders taught her a little about the Book of Mormon and then wrote down her address and said, I’ll send the missionaries who live closest to your house. 

THAT WAS MY COMPANION AND ME!!  Sister Ramona and I taught her at the end of July and on the first day of teaching her we marked a baptism date.  Joana had a smoking problem and was also a Jehovah’s Witness, and had been for many years, so her knowledge of the Bible was big and her doubts about the Book of Mormon were big too!  Every time we set a baptism date, it fell through because she kept smoking.  Pretty soon we learned that her problem with smoking wasn’t getting better because her testimony wasn’t strong enough.  We worked on her testimony of the Book of Mormon and invited her to read, study, pray and write down questions she had about it.  Holy cow! did she ever have questions for me? Loads!  

I think my time with her tested my testimony of the Book of Mormon, but it also strengthened my testimony more than ever!  Joana had so many doubts about the Book of Mormon.  I would literally pour out my soul, bearing my testimony, and I would read scriptures to her that bear testimony of the truth of the Book Of Mormon.  We would invite her to pray and find out for herself if the Book of Mormon were true.  I would cry a lot just wishing and wanting her to know for herself that the Book of Mormon was true.  We prayed and fasted for her, and at times she wouldn’t answer our phone calls.  We would mark days to visit her and she wasn’t home (she lives 1 hour on foot from our house and 25 min by bus.)   At times, I questioned if she even wanted to be baptized anymore. Satan put so many thoughts in her head, and doubts, it was so sad.  Satan is so real, and so annoying!!!  I told her to stop listening and keep believing and having faith.  
I told her, “you won’t know every detail about the Book of Mormon in a day, a week, or a month.  The first thing you need to know is if it’s true and that will only come from reading a little bit and then praying and asking God if it’s true.”  At times I would pray and ask God why he sent me to teach her because she is so elect and needs a missionary that can explain things better to her, that can help her better than I can. 

But now, I pray and thank Heavenly Father for giving me the honor of teaching her and helping her gain a stronger testimony of the gospel.  I am on the 3rd companion that has helped me with teaching her, and I have stayed here and watched her grow and progress.  Two weeks ago I said, “okay Joana, what are you going to do?  You have stopped smoking, you are studying the Book of Mormon, you are progressing.   Are you going to take that next step of faith and get baptized this week?”  She´s like, this week? No.  I said, “then you choose the date of your baptism.” “I want you to choose it.”  She chose the 29th of October!!! 

Saturday she was baptized and yesterday confirmed a member of the church!!  You guys, I have never taught someone for so long, 3 months!!  I have learned to endure, to not give up on someone, to look at their progress day by day, to have patience and love. Literally, my heart has never been so happy.  She still has questions and needs to learn more, but we all do.  We all need to strengthen our testimonies, and now she has the Holy Ghost to guide and teach her more than I ever could!!  It was a neat baptism, she bore a sweet testimony at the end. I was crying the whole time. (;

I love you all!!

- Sister Smith

Joana's baptism!

My hair is so brittle and sun damaged
Cute bug